Bart M. : Against The Grain is heavily putting the tracks down (wow) and is releasing their fifth album to date: 'Cheated Death'. The Detroit quartet doesn't have to prove anything to anyone anymore and brings us a record that has a big "here we are and do whatever you want to do with it" attitude. As they indicate themselves their music is not easy to categorize, because it is more a mix of categories than anything else. But what does that mean? Isn't mixing things together just having a style of your own? In this case I tend to agree; think of heavy rock in the style of Motörhead, but peppered with guitar harmonies. At the end of the day, this is pure Rock 'n Roll!
With a mostly raw but occasionally very smooth sound, Against The Grain steadily cram through their new material. Looking at the cover of this album (and seeing a steadily oncoming locomotive) you will get a pretty good idea of what it will bring you. For every song the band takes the time it needs to convey their message, and sometimes this means a song over five minutes, other times it means a song less than two. I like this idea of not having the restriction that a song should be limited to or have at least a certain number of minutes for it to be okay. I also like how they manage to alternate a well-known rock-sound with specific bits of originality, like the almost Heep-esque vocal harmonies of 'Last Chance' or the very powerful ballad 'Devils And Angels', which through the raw vocals still gets a dark, heavy edge, and eventually results in a fantastic (and again: harmonious) piece of guitarwork.
With this album Against The Grain continues to do the thing they have been doing for a while now and still knows how to bring every song convinced about their own direction and their own sound. Therefore, 'Cheated Death' is an album that any rock- or metalfan will find interesting to discover.